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Plano East Senior High Baseball Booster Club hosted Teacher Appreciation Night at the April 4 Panther Varsity baseball game against McKinney High School.

Each of the 17 Varsity players invited a special teacher to be their honored guest. The teacher wore the player’s alternate jersey and was escorted on the field and recognized before the start of the game. Each teacher’s name was placed in a raffle to determine who would throw out the first pitch. Lensey Sardar won the drawing and pitched to Plano East senior and middle infielder Mason O’ Brien.

Several teachers wiped away tears at the thought of their former student soon to graduate high school.

Plano East junior and varsity outfielder Roshan Damodaran invited his first-grade teacher, Jessi Walton from Miller Elementary, to be his guest.

“I remember Roshan so clearly as it was my first year to teach first grade,” said Mrs. Walton. “On the way in tonight, I passed the girls’ softball field just as they announced another girl I taught. I thought of my kindergartner, Quinn, and realized just how quickly these years will pass. I was very honored to be chosen as a teacher who made a difference in Roshan’s life.”

The players and teachers included,  #1 Joey Erickson, Mrs. Kristy Alexander (English); #2 Nathan Beam, Ms. Regina Carrell (Math); #3 Mason O’Brien, Mrs. Lensey Sardar (English); #4 Elijah Reyes, Ms. Kimberly Kruetzer (English); #5 Nathan Owles, Mr. Daniel  Hall (English); #6 Andrew Ligon, Mrs. Amy Valentine (Math);  #7 Zak Pilipchuk, Mrs. Kristie Diefenbaker (Math); #8 Hayden Smith, Mrs. Courtney Crosby* (Williams High School, Chemistry);  #9 Jake Rudkin, Mr. John Conner (Social Studies); #10 Roshan Damodaran, Mrs. Jessi Walton (Miller Elem.); #11 Tyler Burke, Mr. Scott McCleneghan (Math); #12 Brayden Stroud, Ms. Emily Decuir (Math); #17 Jonathan McNair, Mrs. Erin Crossley (Williams, Theater);  #18 Garrett Long, Mr. Jacob Downs (Math); #19 Ralph French III, Ms. Kristin Shapiro (Science); #21 Andrew Mills, Mr. Andrew Ahn (History); #23 Brandon Devillier, Ms. Katherine Ruzycki (English.) All are Plano East teachers except where noted. At the last minute, Mrs. Crosby was unable to accompany Hayden Smith, so Plano East Athletic Director Joey McCullough stepped in to sub for her.

Other upcoming Plano East Baseball special events include the April 11 Middle School Night; April 18 Elementary School Night and the April 28 Senior Celebration.

The Plano East Baseball program is under the direction of head coach Jordan Byrd, assistant varsity coach Scott Castleman, junior varsity head coach Michael Martinez, and assistant junior varsity coach John Lubow. For more information, go to or follow Plano East Panther Baseball on FaceBook.